Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
When was the last time the Bears won a game without Kyle Long in the lineup?
Since Matt Forte arrived in 2008, the Bears are 3-3 in games he's missed due to injuries. Interestingly, they lost the first three contests and have won three straight. They went 1-3 in the final four games of the 2011 season before beating the Rams in 2012 and defeating the Chargers Monday night. In the first game Forte missed in 2011, replacement Marion Barber rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries in Denver but made two huge blunders. Barber ran out of bounds to stop the clock late in regulation when the Broncos were out of timeouts and then lost a fumble in overtime that led to Denver's game-winning field goal. The best performance by a Bears running back in Forte's place came two weeks later when Kahlil Bell rushed for 121 yards on 23 carries in a loss to the Packers in Green Bay. On Monday night, Jeremy Langford ran for 72 yards on 18 attempts and caught three passes for 70 yards in the Bears' 22-20 win over the Chargers.
I know that Lamarr Houston has been trying to get re-established in the rotation on defense since coming back from the torn ACL last year. Given his outstanding performance against the Chargers, do you see increased playing time for Houston moving forward?
I think Lamarr Houston will continue to see about the same number of snaps as he did against the Chargers Monday night when he was on the field for 23 percent of the plays (16 of 70). I don't think he will supplant Pernell McPhee or Sam Acho as a starter, so I expect him to remain in the same type of role as a pass-rush specialist. Houston's two sacks late in the game were absolutely huge in preserving the win and certainly were noticed by the coaching staff. But so were his two offside penalties—mistakes that the staff wants him to clean up. Houston's playing time could increase if McPhee continues to be bothered by a knee injury. I know that Houston was on the field during the Chargers' final drive in large part because Houston's knee was hurting him.
I see the Rams just signed Wes Welker. Is he going to play against the Bears Sunday?
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that the team is installing a small package of plays for Wes Welker, but the decision about whether he will suit up against the Bears probably won't be made until Saturday night or possibly even just before kickoff Sunday. Welker's signing with the Rams this week surprised some given his history of concussions